Saturday, September 26, 2009

Zombie editing

Once again this morning, The Sun published an article about someone who suffered nonlife-threatening injuries.* Life-threatening is bad enough, but something severe enough to threaten nonlife — zombies, please take care — must be extraordinary.

Applying the Associated Press Stylebook’s rule — that the prefix non is not hyphenated, except when it is** — requires a little thought, a little attention, a little judgment. Supplies of those qualities appear to be running short.

*Yes, I wrote about the same construction in July. They don’t listen.

**Thank you, AP.


  1. Thanks. I needed a good laugh this morning.

  2. Mark Twain's "on-the-other-side-of-the-mountains-lying village" still awaits us.

  3. Oh, you're talking about The Sun. It's a visual thing.

  4. Reminds me of a phrase flagged by one of my colleagues on the U.S. News proof desk when I worked there: a reference to "slaughtering carcasses" at a meatpacking plant. Either the plant's workflow was inefficient and they were redundantly killing already-dead hogs, or the hogs were coming back to life and had to be killed yet again. The latter would make for a new angle on the classic zombie flick.